There’s a deadline for the NFL collective bargaining agreement. Come midnight, some type of decision is going to have to be made whether it be the owners locking the players out, they agree on an extension for negotiations, or a deal gets done (probably not happening). I don’t know if I am in the minority or majority here, but this deadline for me is a soft one. There is some time. I’m not going to panic, not yet, if the owners lock out the players tonight. First, because lamenting the loss of the NFL season isn’t going to do you any good in March, but also because I think these people will ultimately come to their senses.
I think the fans always come down against the side that isn’t willing to play. In a strike they don’t care about the players’ salaries, or their free agency, or any of that. They see rich players who want more money. The typical reaction is to say, “screw ’em,” and suggest they suck it up and go play. In a lockout you have the players willing to play under the current deal, but it is the owners who aren’t satisfied with the terms. This gives the players the sympathetic position. The owners are splitting up 9 billion dollar TV contracts? That makes the average fan’s head explode. When you think about the NFL’s 31 owners not being satisfied with being billionaires, the reaction is the same, “screw ’em and let the guys play.”
The recent developments have been going in favor of the players. There is talk of extending the negotiations. A judge ruled the owners can’t get access to their TV money if they aren’t playing the games in 2011, but none of that changes the fact the owners have the players over a barrel here. They always have. And, I think that fact is what is eventually going to allow this thing to get done.
The owners have some room to play, but eventually there will be a backlash. I think the longer this lockout (if it happens) goes on, the more the owners will be portrayed as greedy businessmen with no regard for their employees or their fans. There are fans, players and owners. The fans will want games. The players will want games. Eventually that will become too much for the owners to stifle. They have all the money, but they don’t have the talent and they don’t control the billions that fans pour into their sport out of blind loyalty.
When people start reading about how the owners are cutting back on coaches’ salaries during this, or that the players are losing out on roster bonuses or free agent singing bonuses, while the owners are just resting comfortably on their stockpiles…that isn’t going to sit well. At some point people aren’t going to care if the owners are making the savvy business move. This isn’t a siege. No fan is going to want to hear stories about their favorite players having financial trouble. They want to hear about their exploits on the field. If you want stories about financial troubles they are easy enough to find.
I just think the owners are setting themselves up to be identified as the enemy and that is something that they’ll need to be careful of at the negotiating table. Like I said, I think they have some time to put the screws to the players here, but eventually the fans and everyone will wake up and realize a lockout isn’t really an acceptable scenario. So, in this case of the millionaires vs. the billionaires, I’m going to side with the millionaires. And, for whatever reason, just an inkling, I think they get this done in plenty of time to play football in 2011.
Quiz of the Day: 4-Letter Speed Jumble. Category: Words and Typing. My Score: 43/50.